Muscle building, three ways
The good news is that nowadays we have access to great knowledge, technology, nutrition and training methods, trialled over the years. Here are three ways that you can accelerate your muscle building capabilities.
1 Understand your “rep tempo”
“Rep Tempo” is one of the most important aspects of building muscle, full stop.
There are four specific parts to rep tempo and they are: 1. Concentric phase (the “lifting” part). 2. Isometric contraction 1 (the “pause” after the lift). 3. Eccentric aka “negative” phase (the “lowering” of the weight part). 4. Isometric contraction two (the “pause” before the lift).
Different things are happening within the target muscle at each of these points, which is important for you to understand, in order to maximise your muscle growth.
You create the most tension and recruitment during the eccentric phase, which is why I prescribe, slow and controlled negatives to all my clients. At the isometric point after the concentric phase, this is where, by squeezing the muscle you can significantly increase muscle fibre recruitment and activation. During the concentric phase interestingly, using more controlled speed to lift the weight, helps activate more fibres. This DOES NOT mean “as fast as possible”, or “uncontrolled” – it just means, during the lifting phase, more speed is usually better.
2 TRACK YO UR RESTPERIODS
I see so many people go too easily on themselves with rest periods between working sets. This may be a lack of knowledge, too much distraction or a training partner who simply does not have the same goals as you do.
In my opinion, once your first working set is done, the clock starts ticking and you stick to the prescribed rest periods. This is one of the true markers and pacemakers for INTENSITY. The fact you were able to lift “X” amount of weight on every set, is irrelevant to your hypertrophy goals, if you had to rest too long, in order to do it, OK? So make sure you have a timer and only rest for the amount of time that is specific to your goals. I only rest a maximum of 60 – 90 seconds between sets when my goal is musclebuilding. That rest period reduces if I want to lose body fat and likewise increases, if I am working on strength alone.
3 TRAIN LES, REST MORE
Some might not agree with this, but I’ve seen so many people follow a training programme which has far too much volume and frequency without periodisation. I strongly believe one should train heavy and hard, however, after a few weeks of heavy intense training, it is good to change it up.
Include a few more rest days and lighter sessions just to rest the body, so it can benefit from the intensity when you restart the heavier and more intense training.
To build muscle it is VERY much a case of “quality, not quantity”.
There’s a time for more volume and there’s a time for less volume and more intensity. Combining this as part of a cycle, with different rep ranges is essential, if you’re serious about building muscle.
You create the most
tension during the eccentric (lowering) phase, which is why slow and controlled
negatives is best.